At Gibson we believe that workplace safety is about protecting your business’ most important assets — your employees. Injuries and illnesses in the workplace not only endanger the wellbeing of your people, but they also result in lost work days, decreased productivity, and lower employee morale.
Most workers appreciate the need for workplace safety because they cannot afford the personal pain and financial loss when injured at work. Owners, executives, and HR decision makers cross their fingers, knowing full well the economic impact that workplace injuries have on the business. Having a good risk management plan can reduce workplace injuries and protect both employees and employers. However, it will only be effective if you know how to obtain management commitment to workplace safety.
Access a variety of free resources from Gibson Insurance's online Knowledge Center. The site offers self-assessment tools, checklists, e-Books, webinars, best practices guides and even the 2019 Safety & Health Calendar. Download these complimentary tools from Gibson's Knowledge Center.
While you want safety to be at the top of everyone’s mind, some common roadblocks can prevent it from receiving the attention it deserves. The key to overcoming those roadblocks is to know how to respond to them.
Some employers avoid introducing workplace safety programs because of their high perceived cost. But, according to OSHA, work-related injuries and illnesses cost employers almost $1 billion a year in direct costs alone. If you add indirect costs like training replacements, lost productivity, investigation, and corrective measures, you have numbers that will catch any employer's attention. Do an analysis of the direct and indirect costs relating to workplace safety from previous years. Your workers' comp advisor can help you with this.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)
Business leaders focus on the cost of doing business. But, the cost of implementing workplace safety programs is more than just a necessary cost of doing business like utilities and business equipment. It may be tough to see the ROI when there is not the usual business exchange.
A good risk management program management program reduces the number of worker injuries, and this means fewer claims, greater productivity, and improved employee morale. OSHA puts that savings at 28% reduced costs, 43% increased productivity, and 6% increased morale. If you can reduce your claims, you will also pay lower workers' compensation insurance premiums. Communicating these benefits can help develop buy-in from management.
Management has a fiduciary responsibility to serve its shareholders' interests, however owners and executives often think at cross purposes. They have big picture worries, yet they live very much in the moment when it comes to daily operations. It takes effort and education to get them to accept workplace safety as a business initiative requiring their support and enforcement.
Profit is a legitimate motive, but successful executives are quick to learn that profit is more than the simple difference between gross revenue and expenses, and that expenses include much more than operating costs. The Baldridge Performance Excellence Model is a helpful tool that sets up a points structure that motivate management to endorse and remain engaged in safety initiatives for their effect on strategic planning, customer and market interests, performance metrics, human resources management, quality process, and business results.
To the extent that decision makers leave workplace safety issues and enforcement to the Human Resources department, they walk away from effective support. Workplace safety is not HR's job alone. It takes the full commitment and engagement of management from the top down.
There is a connection to be drawn between environmental health and safety functions and enhanced business value. It may take some effort to outline the connection between employee safety and lean manufacturing and quality initiatives. But, you can take advantage of your relationship with your organization's workers' comp advisor to create training programs and utilize other resources at their disposal.
Many times, management thinks that they are meeting the safety needs of employees, when they aren’t. Sometimes it’s luck, or the safety diligence of the employees, that help avoid incidences. If unsure about the safety and the safety culture of the company is being perceived by employees, the best thing to do is ask them. Frequent surveying of employees will help identify what safety concerns employees might have and determine where focus and financial commitment should be spent.
It takes a concerted effort at all levels of the company, and a long-term commitment to workplace safety, to get the desired results. When you proceed from the knowledge that it is in the mutual interest of employer and employee, the challenge and the response become easier.